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A little hide-away in the heart of the Indian Ocean...

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Seychelles, Cerf  History in brief

Discovered for the first time on 1502 by a navigator who didn't give them a name. The Portuguese called them later the "Seven Sisters."

In 1756, Seychelles became a French colony under the name of Seychelles, named for Moreau of Seychelles, Minister of Finance under the kingdom of Louis XV. During the XIX century,  the English gave them the name of Seychelles. Seychelles remained an English colony from 1903 until 1976, when the archipelago gained independence, becoming the Republic of Seychelles.

The Arabs, Phoenicians, Indonesians, Portuguese, English and French all played a part in creating this unique island nation which today is enjoyed by fortunate travelers from all over the world.

It is quite likely these islands were first spotted by Arab traders as much as 1000 years ago. Their location would make them an ideal provisioning stop for early seafaring peoples like the Arabs, Phoenicians and Indonesians. Almost 500 years ago Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese explorer/navigator, is credited with the official discovery. Part of the island group, the Amirantes (islands of the Admiral) is named in his honour. A Portuguese map of 1544 shows the islands as the Seven Sisters; Petite Soeur and Grande Soeur retain these names today.

The British landed there in 1609 on an expedition for the East India Company. For the next 133 years they became a provisioning base for the merchant navy as well as for plundering Indian Ocean pirates and buccaneers. To this day there are still stories of fabulous treasures hidden on Mahe.

The French expedition led by Lazare Picault to Mahe in 1742 gave Baie Lazare its name and in 1756 the islands were formally claimed on behalf of Louis XV of France. The Stone of Possession, now in the national museum, was laid and the islands were officially named in honour of Jean Moreau de Seychelles, French Minister of Finance. French colonization and agricultural settlement of the fertile soil and favourable climate continued uninterrupted until the end of the century.

During the Napoleonic War period Seychelles were regarded as a strategic acquisition as the British fought to contain French expansion. The French were forced to give up the islands, yet without a permanently stationed British force, control changed seven times in 13 years. The 1814 Treaty of Paris confirmed British rule.

Throughout the 19th century the population increased as Seychelles first produced high quality cotton, then harvested whales from local waters and finally began the large coconut plantations which became the economy's mainstay. Plantation labour was drawn from former slaves freed in 1835 when the institution was abolished. By the end of the century export of guano improved the island economy and in 1903 Seychelles became a separate Crown Colony.

After the two World Wars Seychelles saw rapid change as modern conveniences and communications were introduced. At the 1971 opening of its airport, the landing of the BOAC VC-10 was witnessed by virtually the entire population. Improved accessibility brought tourism.

So after a lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter. Independence came in 1976. On June 29, 1976 Seychelles became an independent republic.Socialist rule was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993.

Under government stability tourism flourished and the economy boomed.

Today Seychelles is sound, safe and very scenic...46% of its total area has been designated as Nature Reserve or Parks to preserve the reason tourists visit -- its incredible natural beauty

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